March 18, 2024

Best POS System for Small Business 2024

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Point-of-sale (POS) systems are key to the success of any business, big or small. They keep your business running daily, letting you process sales, oversee inventory, track performance, run marketing campaigns, and manage your employees. The POS market, however, is saturated with tons of options, leaving many small business owners wondering what the best solution is for them. 

In this guide, we will explore the best POS systems for small businesses of all kinds so that you can pinpoint exactly which option will serve your unique business needs and support your goals. We reviewed the top providers on the market, evaluating each on more than two dozen criteria, including pricing, features, and user experience. Based on our findings, the best POS systems for small businesses are:

Square logo. Toast logo. Shopify logo. Helcim logo. Paypal Zettle logo. IT Retail logo. Lightspeed logo.
Monthly POS Software Fees $0–$153 $0–$69 $39–$399 $0 $0 $199 $89–$269
Compatible Industries • Retailers, primarily brick and mortar
• High-risk retailers (CBD, liquor)
• Cafes, quick service restaurants, full service restaurants, bars, food trucks
• Appointment-based businesses
• Service businesses
• Full-service restaurants
• Quick service restaurants, cafes, and food trucks
• Bars and nightclubs
• Hotel restaurants
• Retail/restaurant hybrids
• Retailers, primarily ecommerce
• B2B retailers
• Retailers, primarily brick and mortar
• Healthcare
• Professional services and contractors
• Wholesalers
• Automotive industry
• Small retailers, primarily brick and mortar
• Groceries and markets
• Convenience, thrift, and dollar stores
• Butchers and fish markets
• Retailers, best suited for those with large complex inventories that operate primarily in-person
Mobile Capabilities Square POS app for Android and iOS

Mobile hardware options
POS only operates on proprietary hardware; no mobile apps

Mobile hardware options
Shopify POS app for Android and iOS

Mobile hardware options
Helcim POS app for Android and iOS

Mobile hardware options
PayPal Zettle POS app for Android and iOS

Mobile hardware options
No mobile hardware or app options Lightspeed Retail POS app for iOS ( iPad only)

Mobile hardware options
Payment Processing Fees
Square Payments
In-person: 2.5%–2.6% + 10 cents
Online: 2.9% + 30 cents
Toast Payments
In-person: 2.49%–3.29% + 15 cents
Online: 3.5%–3.89% + 15 cents
Shopify Payments
In-person: 2.4%–2.6% +10 cents
Online: 3.1%–3.5% + 30 cents
Helcim Payments
In-person: 0.25%–0.4% + 6–8 cents
Online: 0.15%–0.5% + 15–25 cents

Rates vary based on sales volume
PayPal Payments
In-person: 2.29% + 9 cents
Online: 3.49% + 9 cents
IT Retail Payments Custom rates
Lightspeed Payments
In-person: 2.6% + 10 cents
Online: 2.9% + 30 cents
Learn More Visit Square Visit Toast Visit Shopify Visit Helcim Visit PayPal Zettle Visit IT Retail Visit Lightspeed

Not finding what you are looking for? Check out our guide to the Best Point-of-Sale (POS) Software for 2023 for more options.

Square: Best overall small business POS system


Pros

  • Forever-free plan
  • Competitive flat-rate payment processing
  • Add-ons and advanced plans to support growth
  • Restaurant, retail, beauty, and service industry-specific POS systems

Cons

  • Must use Square Payments
  • Loyalty program is not included in any plans; add-on only
  • Lacks several major ecommerce integrations, including Shopify
  • No TikTok Shop integration
Square logo.

Our Rating: 4.33/5

  • POS system basics (and beyond): Square offers everything you would expect from a POS system—inventory management, reporting, CRM, employee controls, marketing tools, a great checkout interface, sales channel integrations, order management, and integrated payment processing. All these features are included at a basic level on Square’s free POS system, but you can always upgrade if you need more advanced versions. 
  • Industry-specific POS systems: Square offers POS systems for restaurants, retailers, beauty and wellness businesses, and service providers. Each version of Square’s POS comes with industry-specific tools, free and advanced versions, and hardware to support almost any kind of small business.  
  • Integrated payments: Square comes pre-integrated with their in-house payments solution, Square Payments, which can be used to process all payments types, both in person and online. Additionally, Square has partnered with Afterpay so you can offer customer financing for both in-store and online purchases. 
  • Online store: All Square accounts come with a free online store builder, Square Online. Each industry-specific POS includes an online store that suits their needs—ecommerce for retailers, online ordering for restaurants, and booking for wellness and service businesses. You can also integrate some third-party ecommerce solutions with your POS, but the options are limited. 
  • Add-on tools: Along with Square’s advanced plan options, you can purchase add-on tools such as payroll, loyalty programs, an upgraded online store, and outreach marketing tools, for a monthly fee. 
  • Bespoke POS option: If your business outgrows Square’s Plus plans, you have the option to work with Square developers to create a bespoke POS system with custom tools and features.

Square offers four different POS options, each with several plans to choose from. Plans vary based on the level and types of features they provide.

FreePlusPremiumEssentials Bundle
Square POS$0$29/monthCustom
Square for Retail$0$89/monthCustom
Square for Restaurants$0$60/month*$192
Square Appointments$0$29/month$69/month
*For software for a single terminal; additional terminals are $40 per terminal monthly.

Square requires the use of Square Payments to process transactions. Square Payments has a flat-rate pricing model for different transaction types; rates vary based on your software plan. 

  • In-person: 2.5%–2.6% + 10 cents
  • Online: 2.9% + 30 cents
  • Manual entry: 3.5% + 15 cents
  • Afterpay: 6% + 30 cents›‹

With Square, there are several hardware options you can purchase outright or via monthly financing. Along with the options below, Square also has options for accessories to use alongside its software or in tandem with your personal computer or tablet. 

  • Square Register: $799
  • Square Terminal: $299
  • Square Stand: $149

Square also offers add-on tools available for all POS software plans: 

  • Square Online Plus: $29 per month (billed annually)
  • Square Marketing: $15 per month for email marketing; $20 for text message marketing
  • Square Loyalty: Starts at $45 per month
  • Square Payroll: $35 + $6 per employee monthly 
  • Team Plus: $35 per month per location (included free in the Retail Plus plan)
  • Square Invoices: $0–$20 per month
  • Square Gift Cards: $0.50–$1.50 per card

Square tops our list as the best POS system for small business because of the breadth of its offerings for users. With industry-specific POS systems, free options to get you started, top-of-the-line hardware, integrated payments, an online store, and so many tools and plans to support growth—there are no other POS systems that cover as much ground as Square.

Pricing: 4.46/5

Hardware: 5/5

Software features: 3.75/5

Support and reliability: 3.75/5

User experience: 4.38/5

User scores: 4.63/5

Square is a top POS system for all types of small businesses. Along with its general POS offering, Square also has industry-specific POS systems for restaurants, retailers, beauty, and wellness operations, and service-based industries, ensuring that there is something for everyone. Not only that, every POS system comes with a free version to help get your idea off the ground, along with more advanced plans to support you as you grow.

Square is easy to use, has great customer and expert reviews, offers some of the best POS hardware that money can buy, and can support small businesses from the moment they start and as they continue to expand.

Toast: Best for restaurants


Pros

  • Free basic POS system
  • Pay-as-you-go option for hardware
  • In-house online ordering platform
  • Restaurant-specific tools and features (kitchen display system, ingredient-level tracking, menu management)

Cons

  • POS can only operate on Toast hardware
  • Access account on browser; no mobile app
  • Standard 2-year contract
  • Frequent hardware updates
  • User interface learning curve; UI changes often with updates
Toast logo.

Our Rating: 4.29/5

  • Restaurant-specific POS system: Toast’s POS system includes a simple order and checkout screen, integrated payments, table, menu, and seating management, real-time inventory management, and detailed reporting. While you can only perform checkout functions from Toast’s hardware, you can view your POS account from any browser by simply logging into your account.  
  • Tableside Service: Take orders, send them to the kitchen, and complete payments right from your diners’ tables with Toast’s handheld POS. Waiters can also receive order-ready notifications and collect customer reviews from the device. 
  • Online ordering and delivery: Create your own, commission-free online ordering and takeout channels on your website, the Toast TakeOut app, or through the phone. You can also integrate your POS with third-party delivery platforms, like DoorDash, so orders appear right on your POS. 
  • Detailed reporting: Gain insights into how you are performing with ingredient- and menu-level reporting by location and overall. 
  • Menu management: Manage your menu from any terminal or your POS account. Make updates, keep your staff up to date with auto-86ing, and set menu countdowns for special deals and offers so your staff can see what is coming and when ahead of time. 

Toast offers four POS subscription options that vary based on features and processing fees. Unlike the other POS platforms on this list, Toast requires a 2-year contract. As of this writing, the rates are:

  • Quick Start bundle: $0/month
  • Core: $69/month 
  • Restaurant Basics Package (Core + Payroll Bundle): $90 + $9/employee/month
  • Build your own: Custom pricing

In addition to paying for your POS software each month, Toast also has payment processing fees for its in-house payments solution, Toast Payments. 

  • In-person:
    • Visa, Mastercard, Discover: 2.49% + 15 cents
    • Amex: 3.29% + 15 cents
  • Online/keyed-in:
    • Visa, Mastercard, Discover: 3.5% + 15 cents
    • Amex: 3.89% + 15 cents

Toast also offers users the option to get hardware and software for no upfront cost if they agree to higher processing fees. Exact fees vary based on the hardware you are financing, but in general, users opting for the pay-as-you-go arrangement can expect to pay an additional 0.50% in processing fees. 

Toast also has many hardware options that users have to purchase to use the POS system*. For the Quick Start plan, you have the option to choose between the handheld kit or the countertop terminal for your POS hardware. For Core and Build-your-own plans, you can choose whatever hardware suits your needs. 

To pay for your hardware, you can either use the pay-as-you-go option for up to two hardware kits, outlined above, or you can pay upfront. Toast’s hardware options include: 

  • Countertop Terminal Starter Kit: $875 + or $0 + 2.99% + 15 cents per in-person transaction
  • Handheld Terminal Starter Kit: $627 or $0 + 2.99% + 15 cents per in-person transaction
  • Self Service Kiosk (Core and Build Your Own plans only): $1,234 or $0 + 2.99% + 15 cents per in-person transaction

In addition to its POS hardware, Toast also offers peripheral tools. 

  • Kitchen display system: $499 + $99 per month
  • Toast Printer: $199
  • Epson printer: $333

*On their FAQ page, Toast states that users “may be able to bring their own hardware.” While Toast users cannot use their own touch-screen tablets or card readers, they may be able to reuse compatible receipt and kitchen printers. However, bringing any preowned hardware could impact the service Toast can provide.

From experts to small business owners alike, there is no question that Toast is the best POS system for restaurants big and small. The system comes complete with industry-grade hardware for tableside service, kitchen operations, and checking out at the counter. The POS software’s range of tools was also a huge plus in our evaluation, allowing the system to fit the needs of cafes up to full-service restaurants.

Toast’s subscription options, ranging from $0 to custom pricing for large-scale operations, make the system perfect for businesses that are just starting out and ensure that the provider can support you as you grow. We also love that Toast offers a pay-as-you-go option for their hardware, allowing businesses to get started with no upfront costs and to pay as revenue comes in. 

Pricing: 3.68/5

Hardware: 3.54/5

Software features: 4.79/5

Support and reliability: 4.58/5

User experience: 5/5

User scores: 4.13/5

Toast is a POS system built specifically for the food service industry, with tools to support restaurants, cafes, catering businesses, food trucks, and more. The system includes tools specifically designed for restaurants, including online ordering, delivery management, tableside service, kitchen display system (KDS), and menu-based ingredient-level inventory management. 

Toast bundles its hardware and software together, ensuring you have the tools you need to get your restaurant up and running. Plus, there are a number of customizable payment options, like pay-as-you-go, so small businesses can pay as revenue comes in and don’t start their business in a debt hole.

Shopify: Best for ecommerce


Pros

  • Top of the industry ecommerce platform
  • Integrations with TikTok, Facebook, Instagram, Google, eBay, Amazon, and more
  • Advanced plans for ecom and POS
  • 24/7 1:1 customer support

Cons

  • No free plan
  • Added transaction fee is you don’t use Shopify Payments
  • Ecommerce plans only include Lite POS
Shopify logo.

Our Rating: 4.27/5

  • Ecommerce site builder: Choose from dozens of ecommerce site templates, including industry-specific templates for every kind of small business. The site builder is easy to use, full of customization options, and can be accessed at any time to make edits and site adjustments right from your Shopify account. 
  • Scalable POS system: Every Shopify account comes with a free Lite POS system. The Lite POS includes all the features a POS needs—inventory management, reporting, staff management, CRM tools, and more—at a very basic level. However, you can also upgrade to the Pro POS system for more advanced POS features if you start doing more in-person selling. 
  • Shopify app store: You can integrate hundreds of third-party tools into your Shopify POS for loyalty programs, inventory management, outreach marketing, analytics, and more via the Shopify app store. Note, however, that many of these tools come with monthly fees. 
  • Shopify Payments: Shopify Payments is integrated into every POS, so you can start taking payments and completing sales immediately when you create your POS account. 
  • Omnichannel selling (Pro): Shopify has tools to integrate all your sales channels onto your POS, so you can unify inventory, staff, and customer management everywhere you sell. Shopify includes sales channels for your online store, Instagram, Facebook, TikTok, eBay, Google, Amazon, and more. Simply add the sales channels you want to track, and Shopify will take care of the rest.
  • Marketing automations: Shopify includes marketing automations to help you hone your store’s SEO, create targeted ads, identify new customers, and reach out to existing customers through email and SMS based on automated triggers. 
  • Shipping discounts: Shop discounted shipping rates from all major shipping companies and print shipping labels straight from your Shopify account. 
  • Top converting checkout UI: Shopify boasts the world’s top converting online checkout interface with Shop Pay. Shopify claims that its checkout interface boasts 15% higher conversion rates compared to other ecommerce platforms. 

You can choose from three ecommerce plans—each comes with the Lite POS system, though you can upgrade to POS Pro for $89/month.

  • Basic: $39/month
  • Shopify: $105/month
  • Advanced: $399/month

Along with your monthly software fees, there are also monthly payment processing fees. For Shopify Payments, the processing fees are listed below. If you choose to use a third-party processor, rates will vary, but you will incur an additional transaction fee from Shopify.

  • In-person: 2.4%–2.6% + 10 cents
  • Online: 2.5%–2.9% + 30 cents 

Shopify also offers POS hardware options for both in-store and mobile operations. Alternatively, if you need to complete a mobile sale and are away from your store, you can use the Shopify POS app to complete sales from your mobile device, including tap-to-pay functionality and barcode scanning. Shopify’s hardware options include: 

  • Countertop kit: $459
  • POS Go: $299
  • Shopify Tap & Chip Reader: $49
  • POS accessories: $0–$89

We named Shopify the best POS system for small businesses that sell primarily online and conduct limited in-person sales. While you can purchase Shopify’s POS system as a standalone product, Shopify operates and stands out primarily for its ecommerce tools. With dozens of design templates to choose from, integrations for every sales channel you can imagine, and online marketing and selling tools that can’t be beaten, Shopify is designed to support online sellers across all their channels. 

Every account does, however, come with a basic POS system that is perfect for the occasional in-person sales. We would recommend looking to a provider like Square or PayPal Zettle, though, if ecommerce is not your primary focus. 

Pricing: 3.93/5

Hardware: 4.79/5

Software features: 3.96/5

Support and reliability: 4.58/5

User experience: 3.88/5

User scores: 4.5/5

Shopify is the industry leader in ecommerce. The platform is well-known in the retail space for supporting online sellers across all their sales channels, from social media shops to all the major selling marketplaces, like Amazon, eBay, Google, and Walmart. The system comes complete with integrated payments, a rudimentary POS system for the occasional in-person sale, and plans to support your growth. 

We love Shopify because it comes with a variety of plan options to support small businesses at every stage. It stands out for its excellent ecommerce site builder, ease of use, marketing tools, and omnichannel selling features.

Helcim: Best for professional services


Pros

  • Affordable hardware
  • Free software
  • Interchange-plus processing fees
  • Invoicing and subscription management tools

Cons

  • Only basic POS tools; no advanced plans
  • Must purchase Helcim hardware to process payments
  • Limited integrations for ecommerce
  • No marketing tools
Helcim logo.

Our Rating: 4.26/5

  • Invoicing: Add Helcim’s free invoicing software to your POS to simplify your billing and payment operations, while saving significantly on processing fees.
  • Interchange-plus pricing: Helcim uses interchange-plus pricing for its processing fees, ensuring that you get the lowest rates and don’t pay any merchant markups. The more payments you process, the more you save. You can use Helcim’s fee calculator to estimate just how much you will save with their pricing model. 
  • Subscription management: Use Helcim’s Subscription manager to set up recurring payments and collect due credit card and ACH payments for subscription services.
  • Free POS system: Every Helcim account comes with a free POS system that includes all the basic tools you need to take payments and manage your business, including inventory tracking, CRM tools, and reporting. The POS system can operate on your personal device or the Helcim Smart Terminal—simply pair it with the Helcim card reader to get started. 
  • Inventory management: Add inventory, log it in your inventory catalog, and track its levels and performance so you never miss a beat. 
  • CRM: Add customers to your customer directory, log the contact information, store payment methods, and view their activity. 
  • Reporting: Review your business’s performance with reporting tools that log your sales totals, tipping information, all your transactions, tender use, sales by category, invoicing totals, sales by products, and discount information.   

Helcim charges $0 monthly software fees for its POS system. However, you will have to purchase the Helcim card reader to start accepting payments. The card reader, however, is highly affordable at $99. Alternatively, you can purchase the Helcim Smart Terminal, which is a complete, mobile POS system that you can use to check out customers, process payments, and print receipts. The Helcim Smart Terminal is priced at $329 or you can finance the device for five monthly payments of $68.

The only monthly fee you will incur from Helcim is for your payment processing, which varies depending on how much money you process each month. Helcim’s interchange-plus processing fees range from 0.15% + 6 cents to 0.4% + 8 cents for card-present transactions, and card-not-present rates range from 0.15% + 15 cents to 0.50% + 25 cents per transaction. The table below outlines a more detailed breakdown and you can also use Helcim’s fee calculator to estimate how much you can expect to pay in processing.

Transaction ValueIn-PersonOnline or Keyed-In
$0–$50,0000.4% + 8 cents0.50% + 25 cents
$50,001–$100,0000.35% + 7 cents0.45% + 20 cents
$100,001–$500,0000.25% + 7 cents0.35% + 20 cents
$500,001–$1,000,0000.20% + 6 cents0.25% + 15 cents
$1,000,001+0.15% + 6 cents0.15% + 15 cents

While Helcim’s POS tools are not the most advanced of the options on our list, they are perfect for service-based businesses with simple, limited inventories and basic retail needs. Where Helcim really stands out is its professional service tools for businesses that operate in healthcare, the automotive industry, contracting, law, consulting, accounting, and even wholesale. With invoicing and recurring subscription tools, Payment Card Industry (PCI) compliance guarantee, and integration options specifically designed for professional service needs—Helcim is ideal for those who provide professional services to their clients and need a simple, affordable way to handle their billing.

Pricing: 4.11/5

Hardware:4.46/5

Software features: 4.17/5

Support and reliability: 3.75/5

User experience: 5/5

User scores: 4.1/5

Helcim is a payment processing company that also offers a free, basic POS system for completing sales, tracking inventory, managing customers, and reporting on your small business’s performance. Helcim charges no upfront or monthly fees, you only have to pay for the Helcim card reader and payment processing. And, even that is a steal. Helcim uses interchange-plus pricing for its transaction fees, meaning you pay the minimum processing fee with increased discounts as you process more transactions. 

Helcim’s POS operates on any computer, tablet, or mobile device via the Helcim Payments app. All you have to do to get started is download the app, pair your device with the Helcim Card Reader, and you are ready to go.

PayPal Zettle: Best for microbusinesses and solopreneurs


Pros

  • PayPal payment method integration for in-store and online sales
  • Free POS software
  • Low flat-rate payment processing
  • Affordable hardware options

Cons

  • Limited POS functions; no advanced features
  • Not suited for restaurants or appointment-based businesses
  • No CRM or employee management tools
  • Complaints of frozen accounts
PayPal Zettle logo.

Our Rating: 4.25/5

  • PayPal Zettle POS App: PayPal Zettle offers a POS app for both Android and iOS mobile devices, letting you complete sales right from your personal tablet or phone. With the app, you can use your mobile device camera to scan barcodes. It also includes a tap-to-pay feature for customers to pay by simply tapping their card on your device—no additional hardware required. 
  • Reporting: PayPal Zettle includes a couple of key reports including ones on your sales, product performances, and inventory segments.  
  • User-friendly checkout: Zettle’s checkout interface is simple to use whether you access it via your personal mobile device or the Zettle terminal. Add discounts, remove products, and send receipts via email with ease. Note, however, that you cannot add customers to a transaction as there are no CRM tools. 
  • PayPal integration: PayPal is integrated into your checkout page for both in-store and online purchases. This means that customers can use PayPal’s financing options, like pay-in-four and PayPal Credit, for all of their purchases.  
  • Inventory management tools: PayPal Zettle offers basic inventory management tools, such as the ability to add products to your product catalog with tons of detailed information. Easily track your inventory on the POS and find reports on best- and worst-sellers. 

PayPal Zettle’s POS software is free, so you will incur no monthly software fees. Each month, you only have to pay your processing fees, which are some of the lowest flat-rate options in the industry. PayPal Zettle processing fees are: 

  • In-person: 2.29% + 9 cents
  • Online: 3.49% + 9 cents
  • Manual entry: 3.49% + 9 cents
  • QR code: 2.29% + 9 cents
  • Invoicing: 2.99% – 3.49%+ 49 cents

PayPal Zettle also offers two hardware options, along with accessory options. You do not, however, need to purchase any hardware to operate your Zettle POS—you can always use the PayPal Zettle POS app, complete with tap-to-pay technology, to make sales and process payments from your personal iOS or Android mobile device. If you do want to use POS hardware, your options are as follows: 

  • Card reader: $29 for your first reader, $79 for additional readers
  • Terminal: $199–$239 (includes built-in barcode scanner)

PayPal Zettle is perfect for micro-sellers or solopreneurs. The system is affordable and completely mobile, so it will let you process transactions even if you don’t have a physical store. Unlike other solutions that claim affordability, PayPal Zettle can be used at zero cost (other than your processing fees) as you can operate your POS and take payments directly from the free PayPal Zettle POS app, featuring tap-to-pay functionality. Additionally, if you do want to upgrade, its mobile hardware options are extremely affordable. The system is ideal for sellers to sell at farmers markets or other on-the-go settings.

The biggest drawback of starting your microbusiness with PayPal Zettle’s POS solution is that there are no advanced plans and features to support you if you need more advanced inventory management and reporting tools. If you need a low-cost option that also includes plans that will keep up with your success, we recommend Square.  

Pricing: 4.69/5

Hardware: 4.75/5

Software features: 2.08/5

Support and reliability: 5/5

User experience: 4.38/5

User scores: 4.6/5

PayPal Zettle is a POS system from PayPal that offers completely free POS software and affordable hardware options perfect for businesses that only need the basics to manage their operations. The POS system has all the basic features a small retailer needs to complete sales, track inventory, manage customers, and take their business on the go. You also get the benefit of lower processing rates because the system is tied to PayPal. 

This POS solution is ideal for small sellers that operate primarily in person, as there are limited ecommerce and no additional sales channel integrations.

IT Retail: Best for grocers and markets


Pros

  • Hardware and software tools specifically for grocers and markets
  • Self-checkout hardware
  • Online grocery store
  • Scale integration

Cons

  • Must use IT Retail payment solution
  • Must purchase expensive proprietary hardware
  • Ecommerce integration add-on fee
  • High monthly fees
IT Retail logo.

Our Rating: 4.09/5

  • Advanced inventory management: IT Retail’s inventory management tools are built specifically for food sellers, with weight tracking, expiration tracking, bulk actions, low stock alerts, and real-time inventory level tracking. 
  • Reporting tools: View sales reports, reports by department, or individual performances and see all your data broken down into easy-to-read visuals and graphs. IT Retail’s reports also download directly to Excel and QuickBooks for accounting or deeper analysis.
  • Online grocery integrations: IT Retail has partnered with several online grocer platforms to help bring our business online. All your online sales, orders, and inventory will integrate seamlessly into your POS so you can track all your sales channels from one place. 
  • Contactless self-checkout solutions: IT Retail offers self-checkout kiosks and apps that customers can download to scan and buy products in your store.
  • Deli scales: For stores that sell food by weight, IT Retail’s POS solution works seamlessly with the labels that deli scales print out and your inventory will also track accordingly. 
  • Customer loyalty: IT Retail has solutions for creating custom loyalty programs that integrate seamlessly with your POS, so as customers gain points for the actions you choose to reward, they will automatically be applied to their purchases. 
  • Integrated payments: IT Retail’s POS comes pre-integrated with IT Retail’s in-house payment solution, so you can start processing payments right away.

IT Retail has three software plans to choose from. Each bundles hardware and software together. 

  • IT Retail Flex Monthly: $199 + monthly financing for hardware (rates vary based on the hardware you choose)
  • IT Retail Freedom Standard: $199 + $1,499 hardware bundle
  • IT Retail Premium: Custom software fees + $1,999 hardware bundle 

IT Retail offers a number of hardware solutions, but you have to meet with a sales representative to get your custom quote. 

The only other fee you will incur with IT Retail is your payment processing fees. As with its hardware solutions, all processing fees are custom-based on your transaction volume. 

IT Retail is really the option for small business grocers, food markets, and convenience stores. The system has everything you need to support your food selling business, from software tools to hardware solutions. It also has the capability to scale with you and support additional grocery solutions, like ecommerce, weighted sales, and multi-location sales, as your business grows. While IT Retail comes at a steep price, thousands of users love what the system offers, so we think it’s worth the investment. 

Pricing: 3.39/5

Hardware: 2.71/5

Software features: 3.96/5

Support and reliability: 4.58/5

User experience: 5/5

User scores: 4.88/5

IT Retail is a POS solution specifically designed for grocers, markets, and convenience stores. With tools like ID scanning, scale integrations, a customizable rewards program, and hardware solutions specific to the food-selling industry, IT Retail is the best in the game for small business food sellers and convenience stores. The system is popular in the small business grocery industry, with thousands of satisfied customers. There are countless ways you can customize the system to make it work for you.

Lightspeed for Retail (R Series): Best for large, complex inventories


Pros

  • Industry-specific POS for retail
  • Choice of in-house or several third-party payment solutions
  • Granular, matrix inventory management tools
  • 24/7 customer support

Cons

  • High monthly software fees
  • Limited mobile app options
  • UI learning curve
  • Monthly fee for using third-party merchant account
Lightspeed logo.

Our Rating: 3.79/5

  • Marketing tools: Lightspeed offers great marketing features, like tools to segment your shoppers, collect customer reviews, SMS marketing integrations, and tools to send out automated alerts and promotions. 
  • Ecommerce: Lightspeed’s Standard and Advanced plans include Lightspeed’s in-house ecom platform, Lightspeed Online, or you can integrate your Lightspeed with a number of major ecommerce platforms if you prefer another ecommerce builder or have an existing site.. 
  • Customizable checkout: Lightspeed includes tiles on its checkout interface that you can customize your checkout screen with your most used functions and products. 
  • Lightspeed B2B: Lightspeed has a built-in product catalog where you can shop from thousands of wholesale items and place orders right from your POS. Upon their arrival, products you order from the product catalogs are automatically added to your inventory catalog to be tracked, complete with product details.
  • Inventory management: Lightspeed offers the best inventory management in the game, with granular matric inventory management, perfect for large, complex inventories with lots of product variations. Additionally, there are built-in purchase ordering and tracking functions, special orders, bulk action tools, low stock alerts, and counting tools. 
  • Accounting integration: Lightspeed allows you to integrate your accounting software on your POS so you can do your bookkeeping right from your Lightspeed dashboard. 
  • Loyalty program: Lightspeed offers a customizable loyalty program that tracks and rewards customers across all your sales channels based on the actions and rewards structures you choose. 
  • Reporting: Lightspeed offers reporting tools, including custom reports. For Advanced users, Lightspeed also offers analytics which takes your data and provides actionable insights and advice based on your performance.

Lightspeed for Retail offers four software plans, with higher plans including more advanced features. Lightspeed R Series plans are priced as follows: 

  • Lean: $89/month
  • Standard: $149/month
  • Advanced: $269/month
  • Enterprise: Custom 

The only other monthly fees you will incur are payment processing fees. Lightspeed Payments is the default option for processing, however, you can integrate your Lightspeed account with a few other merchants. If you choose to do this, you will have to pay an additional third-party processing fee. For Lightspeed Payments, the processing fees are: 

  • In-person: 2.6% + 10 cents
  • Online: 2.9% + 30 cents

In addition to its software options, Lightspeed also offers a number of hardware options for both an iPad and desktop setup. Lightspeed does not disclose its hardware options or pricing—you have to reach out to a rep who will assess your needs and circumstances to pair you with the best hardware for your business.  

Lightspeed probably has some of the most advanced tools available of all the options on our list. The software is especially strong when it comes to inventory management and reporting, with tools for managing complex inventories, keeping track of your vendors, integrated purchase ordering tools, and even built-in product catalogs where you can shop and order goods right from your POS account. Not only that, Lightspeed’s reporting tools create incredibly high-level reports and provide actionable insights and suggestions based on your performance.

Pricing: 2.86/5

Hardware: 3.54/5

Software features: 4.38/5

Support and reliability: 4.58/5

User experience: 3.13/5

User scores: 4.28/5

Lightspeed is a popular POS system for all kinds of businesses, with an industry-specific system just for retailers—Lightspeed R Series or Lightspeed for Retail. Lightspeed’s retail POS system has everything a retailer needs to run their business, including some of the best inventory management tools in the industry, CRM tools, advanced reporting and analytics, a customizable loyalty program, an in-house ecommerce site builder, integrated payments, and plans to support your growth. 

The system also has accompanying hardware, but you can also run your POS directly from your desktop. We would not, however, recommend trying to take the system mobile without accompanying hardware, as Lightspeed’s mobile apps are not compatible with many devices and have poor customer reviews.

Not seeing the right solution for your business? Check out our comprehensive Retail POS Buyer’s Guide.

Key features of a small business POS system

When you are looking for a POS system for your small business, you should consider your unique needs, goals, and budget. The list below outlines all the tools you should consider when selecting a POS system.

Learn about the different types of POS systems and the ways they can serve your business with our guide to the different types of POS systems.

  • Budget: Consider how much you can reasonably spend on your POS system. The starting price for different POS providers can vary by hundreds of dollars a month, there are different startup costs, and some even require you to purchase hardware upfront. 
  • Integrated or third-party payment processing: Some providers will have an in-house payment processor that you have to use and others will allow (or require) you to use a third-party merchant instead. Consider what option is better for you, with high-volume businesses typically getting better value when they can choose their own merchant account. 
  • Interchange-plus processing: For businesses that are looking to save on their payment processing fees, an especially important consideration for high-volume sellers, you might look for interchange-plus pricing. This is essentially a discounted processing fee structure that scales based on your sales volume, as opposed to flat rate processing, which is consistent no matter how many transactions you process. 
  • Hardware: The best POS systems will offer hardware for in-store and mobile sales, as well as financing options so you can pay overtime as you start making revenue.  
  • Mobile compatibility: If you plan to take your business on the go and want to be able to make sales from anywhere, your POS should be mobile compatible either via mobile hardware or a mobile POS app. 
  • Inventory management tools: Your POS should have tools for placing and tracking order, adding inventory to your catalog, and integrated tracking as products sell across all locations and channels. Additionally, you should be able to view inventory reports and analysis.  
  • Reporting: POS systems should offer data on your inventory, staff performance, marketing initiatives, customer relationships, and your sales channels. If you need more advanced reporting, there are also systems that support custom reporting options and actionable analyses of your performance.  
  • Customer relationship management tools: Your POS system should have tools for creating customer profiles that log their purchases, contact information, and relevant notes. Some systems will also include tools like loyalty programs and customer segmentation reports for better understanding and retaining your staff.  
  • Marketing features: Some POS systems include integrated marketing tools for sending texts and emails to your customers as well as loyalty program tools. More advanced systems will also have tools for measuring the success of your marketing campaigns and suggestions for how to improve. Depending on the POS system, these tools will either be in-house or available via a third party app integration. 
  • Multilocation management: For sellers that plan to sell across multiple locations, you should look for a system that can track inventory and sales across all of your locations and create reports for both cumulative performance and individual stores and sales channels. Additionally, you should be wary of how the POS system scales their pricing with location, selecting the one that scales most affordably. 
  • Scalability: Avoid the headache of having to change to a different POS system if your business grows by choosing an option with multiple plans that can scale with you. 
  • Omnichannel sales: If you plan to sell online you should look for a POS system that allows you to integrate all your sales channels, including your online store, any social media shops, and marketplaces like Amazon and Google Shop. 
  • Integration options: If you have an existing online store or particular tools that you want to be able to use alongside your POS system, be sure they integrate or there is a custom API option so you can keep all your tools on one platform. 

Making the right POS choice for your small business

There are seemingly countless options for small business POS systems, but not all are created equal. Based on our expert evaluation, the best POS system for small businesses overall is going to be Square. However, the additional providers on this list are also top-notch, especially for niche tools and industries. 

For restaurants, you have Toast. For businesses that primarily focus on online sales, we recommend Shopify. Then there is Helcim, ideal for professional services like healthcare and automotive sales. We also have PayPal Zettle, ideal for microbusinesses and solopreneurs. Along with IT Retail, which we recommend for grocers and market or convenience store sellers. And, finally, there is Lightspeed, which is ideal for businesses that manage large, complex inventories. 

The one great thing about the plethora of POS system options, there is an ideal POS solution for every kind of small business. It’s just a matter of determining your needs and deciding what features are most important for your success.

Featured Partners: POS Software

1 Lightspeed Retail

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2 Cake

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FAQs

POS systems can cost as little as $0 but can also go up to hundreds of dollars per month. This price disparity largely depends on the complexity of the features, the hardware, and the number of locations and people the system manages.

Yes, there are a few great free POS system options available from Square, Toast PayPal Zettle, and Helcim. Note, however, that while the monthly software costs are free, you will still incur and have to pay payment processing fees.

To choose a POS system for your business, you should consider your needs, budget, and business goals. From there, you should research your options to find a solution that fits the bill.


Brigitte Korte Avatar

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